With the rise of platform businesses, many books have set out to guide managers and executives in their marketing and retailing efforts. One of the first books to discuss online retailing was Chris Anderson’s The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More. This book has become a classic and builds on the idea that the internet gives consumers much more choice in what they purchase, resulting in a nearly infinite number of niche markets. As technology erodes barriers to distribution, these niche markets become more visible, and it becomes economically viable to sell unique products to niche markets. In the end, Anderson concludes that the aggregate demand of all these niche markets is larger than the traditional demand for blockbuster products. More recently, in The Shopping Revolution: How Retailers Succeed in an Era of Endless Disruption Accelerated by COVID-19, Barbara E. Kahn analyzes the current retail industry, developing a framework to compare many different retailers. Her analysis highlights where each company stands today and what strategy each must undertake to improve its competitiveness in the future.
One book that analyzes an important, new retailing strategy is Lawrence Ingrassia’s Billion Dollar Brand Club: How Dollar Shave Club, Warby Parker, and Other Disruptors Are Remaking What We Buy. This book highlights direct-to-consumer companies and looks at companies that decided to forgo the traditional retail channel of the physical store. This book gives an overview of how online direct-to-consumer companies operate and leverage technology to overcome barriers to entry in consumer products markets.
Digital marketing is a popular topic in marketing classes in colleges and universities. Ira M. Kaufman and Chris Horton’s Digital Marketing: Integrating Strategy and Tactics with Values offers a practical overview for executives, managers, and students. Damian Ryan’s Understanding Digital Marketing: A Complete Guide to Engaging Customers and Implementing Successful Digital Campaigns covers the foundations of many digital marketing methods, including email and mobile and search marketing. Daniel Rowles’s Digital Branding: A Complete Step-by-step Guide to Strategy, Tactics, Tools and Measurement takes a slightly different approach by showing how marketing has changed since the emergence of the internet. The book details how the focus of branding moved from inside corporate offices to online communities, which now determine brands. These books would all make excellent supplementary reading or textbooks for digital marketing classes.
Other instructional books speak to entrepreneurs and practitioners more broadly. Now in its eighth edition, David Meerman Scott’s The New Rules of Marketing & PR: How to Use Content Marketing, Podcasting, Social Media, AI, Live Video, and Newsjacking to Reach Buyers Directly is targeted to entrepreneurs and small businesses that want to create online content to drive customers to purchase their goods and services. Mathew Sweezey’s The Context Marketing Revolution: How to Motivate Buyers in the Age of Infinite Media offers a conceptual look at how marketers must adapt to become successful at using social media in digital marketplaces. This book plays off Anderson’s early ideas about the internet and media. It suggests that because consumers dominate the media landscape, marketers must craft their messages so that they are relevant to the consumer context.